Overall Rating: Poor
|Departed From:||New York City|
|# of Nights:||7 Nights|
|Sailed As:||Family w/ Children|
This is going to be LONG so grab a chair and a beverage and sit back and see what we think of NCL.
I'll get the good out of the way first since that will be a short sections. Aside from the embarkation (see below) the entertainment was excellent. LeCirque Bijou - their main production show was amazing. One of the best shows I have seen at sea in quite some time. They did have a Magician on board that a lot of people raved about but we did not go to that show. The other production show was also very good. We also had a fun time at 2 slot pulls where the Casino Manager was gracious and sociable. The usualy game shows were fun - lots of enthusiasm and our team actually won Name That Tune.
Our long anticipated "Deb's Birthday bash" started on a good note. Embarkation was terrific - one of the best we have experienced. Not even 15 minutes from curb to ship. They take your sea pass photo while you are checking in - eliminating the first line you usually experience before getting on the ship. That was a good thing because the rest of the week was spent waiting in lines. Cabins weren't ready so we went to the buffet. Food was so-so - some things better than others - typical cruise line buffet but finding a table was a problem mainly because many tables were full of dirty dishes while the staff was standing around chatting.
Went to our cabin around 1 - A BA balcony on deck 10. I knew it would be tight but this was the smallest balcony cabin we ever had. In order to open the sofa bed at night they had to move our tiny table and chair out onto the balcony. The bed then completely blocked the balcony doors making it nearly impossible to use the balcony unless one wanted to walk over the bed. Considering that our room was never made up until at least 2PM each day - this was a big problem. It was not a full sleeper sofa but more like a love seat and the fourth bed dropped down from the ceiling. After hunting down our room steward at 10:30 for the second night in a row to lower the bed we finally gave up and Ashleigh slept with her Mom on the sofa bed. Service to our room was minimal - had the steward actually pick up our wet bath towels from the floor and rehang them on the door hooks. Sorry, that is not acceptable to us. If we had wanted to reuse the towels we could have hung them up ourselves.
Now the fun begins. Went to guest services to sign a release for Caitlin to purchase beer & wine. She is 6 weeks short of her 21st birthday and 3 seperate calls to NCL assured us this would not be a problem. I simply had to sign a release and her card would be stamped. Apparently that is not the case. Was told that they needed a copy of her mothers drivers license as well as a written letter faxed to the ship. Called my TA who in turn called NCL only to find out that all of this had to be notarized and submitted to the cruise line in advance. I asked to speak to a Manager and was told she was "too busy to talk to you" Nice start. We then went up to the pool where Caitlin ordered 3 drinks of the day and gave the waiter her card. He came back in a short time and said the card was "tagged" and she couldn't buy drinks so right in front of him Cait said to Deb - give him your card. Sure enough he came back and handed us 3 tall drinks - giving the first one to Cait after he had just told her she was not old enough to drink. Than we went and purchased 2 soda cards for Ashleigh & Cait - so that is another adventure.
Beginning about 3 days into the cruise they kept asking Cait if she was using her own card. I have no idea why they singled her out but on Wednesday the bartender refused to give her a soda unless she produced photo ID. Told her she would need to carry it around with her at all times. On Thursday things got worse though when this same bartender (who had seen her ID several times) actually asked her "who did you take this card from - it is not yours." To say the you know what hit the fan is an understatement. The Bar manager was alerted by the screaming match going on between Deb and the bartender he came over and did absolutely nothing to handle the situation. Told us that we had to understand that the soda card is the most abused problem on the ship.
Ashleigh used the kids club and enjoyed it up to a point. One evening she was tired and wanted to leave. When you sign your child in you must tell them exactly where you will be and for how long. We were going to a show in one of the lounges and stated that on the form. We told them we would be back by 9PM to pick her up. At 8:10 Ash started crying that she was tired so these geniuses called our room and left a message to come pick her up. When we arrived shortly before 9 she was so upset she did not want to go to the kids club anymore. Also these lovely people spent the morning before we arrived in Cape Canaveral telling these kids about rip tides and how they can drag the kids out to sea and they could drown. Also told them all about a whale who swallowed something and had to be cut open to get the article back. We had a lovely day at Coco Beach
that day. NOT
Dining was not that good. We did have one excellent meal in the Mexican Restaurant with a fairly social waiter. This was a pay extra dining venue which was worth every penny we paid for it. Our pay extra Italian dining experience was not worth it. Could have gotten the same food at the buffet and even though they advertise that they can get anything for the kids from the general kids menu this waiter just rolled his eyes when Ash requested chicken finger and we were half way though our dinner before they appeared. In the no-extra charge venues the lines start forming 45 minutes before they open and service is awful. You could ask 3 or 4 times for water or iced tea before it appeared. The receptionist at these venues does not even look up when you approach her. Simply says "how many" .
The buffet was the same over and over. You could go in at breakfast with your eyes still closed and fill you plate with exactly what you wanted. Everything in the exact same place. The bad here....Jams, Peanut Butter, Cream Chees and Maple Syrup were all at the buffet in large bowls, just sitting there. It took all of about 2 minutes before we saw the first little kid go up and run his finger through the PB, lick it off and do it again. So, no PB or jelly for the trip for us. They have one crew member walking around with the huge bottle of hand spray yet they leave these things in open bowls. Very strange. Lunch was the usual - pizza - pasta station - one meat - one very overcooked fish and a small Asian & Indian station. The food at the lunch buffet was also there for the dinner buffet. Exact same food.
We did have the room Decorated for Ashleigh and they were cute however the cake had one side completely smashed in when it was delivered. Also 2 plates and forks don't help when you have 4 people in the room. I recieved another gift with no signature on the card and repeated attempts to find out where it came from were useless. When I told them I would need a name so I could acknowledge the gift I was told "that is not OUR problem." They just didn't go out of their way for anyone or anything.
This was a Nickelodeon cruise and the activities were minimal. Not quite up to all the hype. They did have 2 pool side shows (both the exact same show) and one "Slime Time Live" show in the main theater. Most of the activities though centered around
Photo ops where they charged $14.95 for a 5 x 7 picture - compared to $12.95 for the other 5 x 7. They did have a few craft sessions (paint your own T-shirt and tote bag) but they weren't advertised anywhere. We found them just by chance.
All in all a most disappointing cruise. Perhaps if the crew were happier and their attitude was better it might have been different but if I heard "No" one more time I was going to scream. I know they are all terribly overworked but saying "good morning or good evening" does not cost anything and makes the guest feel appreciated. Whether this is because of automatic tipping or not I have no idea but by Friday night all of our servers were all smiles and talkative.
I know once I post this I will think of a few more things that happened during this cruise but for now I'll just say NCL will never see these cruisers again and I hope they clean up their act soon. Perhaps a refresher course in Customer Service is in order.
One last thing - this is the first cruise where we were not given Survey forms at the end of the cruise. Believe me I asked for one but they told me they discontinued them. I wonder why??